Saturday, September 29, 2018

And Now There are Six 'Hotspots' in the North Caucasus Alone

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 28 – Vladimir Putin has presented himself and been accepted by many Russians as the leader who brought stability back to Russia and especially in the North Caucasus. But today Putin’s claim rings increasingly hollow with many Russians because there are now at least six serious “hotspots” in the North Caucasus.

            The editors of the National Accent news agency which keeps track of developments among Russia’s nations provide a list and discussion of these six, all of which have again come to a boil in the past month and none of which appears to be on the road to a final resolution anytime soon (

            These conflicts are located in the following places:

1.      The Prigorodny District of North Ossetia which is claimed by both Ossetians and Chechens.

2.      The Sunzhen District of Ingushetia which is claimed by both Ingush and Chechens, something that remains unchanged despite the recent accord between the two republics.

3.      The village of Kendelyon of Kabardino-Balkaria where a conflict between Circassian Kabardins and Turkic Balkars over land and historical memory continues to roil the waters and has already forced Moscow to change the head of that binational republic

4.      The Karaman district of Daghestan which is claimed by both Laks and Kumyks and in which the Chechens are also involved.  The situation is not as bad as it was in 2013, Nazaccent says; but “the problem as before has not been solved.”

5.      The Kazbek district of Daghestan which has long been the site of violent clashes between Chechens who were deported from there in 1944 and the Avars who moved in thereafter.  The portal notes that “now Chechens and Avars in these villages live parallel lives. Children study together but adults go to different mosques and do not mark holidays together.” As a result, any domestic conflict can lead to new “disorders.”

6.      The Nogay district of Daghestan where Turkic Nogays have long been in conflict over pastureland and have been unable to get approval for a referendum that would establish their rights relative to other nations making claims on their land.

And this list while disturbing does not include anger at the behavior of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov and his expansion claims on the territories of neighboring republics, the rise of Islamist movements, or the tensions arising from what has become the poorest region of the Russian Federation. 

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